16 Apr 2015

numbers_slideI used to be great at remembering numbers.

Numbers of old childhood friends are still implanted in my head, stored in the random, useless trivia section of my brain.

My friend says we don’t need to remember them anymore.
“Our phones store them for us, freeing up space for other things.”

But we forget what those numbers meant to us.

See, each number represented a person.

A face that would materialize in our mind just thinking of it,
as our digits excitedly dialed with anticipation of friendly conversation.

You’d have those awkward twenty seconds of small-talk when a parent answered.
Naturally, you’d be terrible at the chit-chat because you didn’t know how to talk to adults.

We don’t have that anymore.

We’re constantly connected but hardly connected to each other.
Conversations have morphed into a string of “lol’s” and “k’s.”

When we lose our phones, we curse and lament.
Without them we are lost, meandering, barely able to remember a few numbers.
We wonder and hope that the world has indeed missed us in our phone’s absence.
When we find them again, we’re relieved when we can revert back to our disconnection.

Some people have numbers that they can never forget, even if they wish they could.

See, each number represented a person.

Numbers were etched into their flesh and their souls,
a permanent testimony to a time when the world had forgotten its humanity.

They serve as a lasting record of unimaginable cruelty, intended to transform victims into a number and eliminate their identities.

It’s as if the perpetrators knew that only 70 years later, our memories would already fade and
we would need as many reminders as possible of the horror that most of us couldn’t conceive in our worst nightmares.

As each year goes by, the stories become fainter. The witnesses soon won’t be able to testify.
And the tragedy will transform into numerical data, a sentence in a textbook with a beginning and end date, nothing more.

Some people will dare to contest that the stories are exaggerated and even fabricated.
Six-million is too large a number after all.

For it’s far easier to forget a number than a person.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.